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Clean, streak-free windows brighten up any space. They also let in more natural light, boost your home’s energy efficiency, and lengthen the windows’ life span.
According to the International Window Cleaning Association, windows need cleaning twice per year, but specific situations may warrant more frequent cleaning. Window cleaning doesn’t require many supplies. You’ll usually need a window cleaning solution, microfiber cloths, a squeegee, a scrubber, and a ladder or step stool. Our guide provides cleaning tips, guidance about frequency, and advice about when to hire a pro.
How Often Should Your Windows Be Cleaned?
You should clean your windows at least twice yearly. However, you may need to clean your windows more frequently depending on where you live and the type of windows you have. If you live in an area with lots of pollen or pollution, you may need to clean more often.
Here are some factors that can impact the frequency of window cleaning.
Snow and rain can leave windows streaky and dirty. Pollen seasons can leave your windows covered in a sticky yellow film. That pollen not only affects how your windows look, but also your health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to biological contaminants can negatively affect indoor air quality and cause health problems.
The spring is one of the best times to clean your windows because you can remove residue left from winter and also prevent pollen buildup. Another good time is in the fall to remove remaining pollen and grime from summer storms. If you live in a place with frequent storms, look into top-rated storm windows.
Where you live impacts how often your windows need to be cleaned. You may need to clean your windows more often if any of these are true for you.
- You live on a busy street or in an urban area.
- You live in an area prone to wildfires.
- There are trees surrounding your home or visible pollen in the air.
- There’s nearby construction or you’re remodeling.
Window Type and Material
The type of window you have and the window frame material can change how often you wash your windows. Materials from top-rated window brands may have specific care requirements. Check with the manufacturer.
Wooden frames may require frequent wipe-downs to prevent damage. Aluminum frames also require regular cleaning—especially in coastal regions—to prevent corrosion by salt air.
Windows or frames with intricate designs have crevices where dirt and debris can accumulate quickly. These windows need more frequent washing and are more challenging to clean.
Establishing a Window Cleaning Schedule
Make a window cleaning schedule to improve the natural light in your home and keep your windows working properly. Clean windows may also help you save money on utility bills. ENERGY STAR-certified windows save homeowners an average of 12% on energy bills, but dirty windows will reduce those savings because less light can pass through. Less efficient windows mean your heating system has to work harder to keep your home comfortable.
Cleaning windows every week helps maintain their appearance and reduces buildup. If you live in a city or are sensitive to allergens, you may need weekly cleanings to help maintain air quality.
Commercial properties require monthly cleaning. These spaces have higher levels of traffic and are more likely to get dirtier quickly. Plus, sparkling windows may be more attractive to customers.
Cleaning seasonally, or every three months, can help you stay on a regular but doable cleaning schedule.
Tips for Clean Windows
Here are window cleaning recommendations from professional window cleaners.
- Dust first. Dust around the window frame, track, and window sill with a feather duster before spraying it with a cleaning solution. Spraying first could turn dust and dirt into sludge and make it more difficult to clean.
- Use the proper tools. You’ll need a window cleaning solution, a duster, microfiber cloths, a squeegee, a bucket, a hose for the exterior, a scrubber, ladder, and an extension pole.
- Use the right cleaning solution. Some cleaning solutions may be too harsh for some window materials. Check your manufacturer’s recommended guidelines.
- Avoid window washing on sunny days. The heat can cause the glass to dry quickly, which will leave smudges.
- Work from top to bottom. Cleaning from the top and moving down helps prevent drips and streaks.
- Wipe in a pattern: Wiping the windows in a Z-shaped motion from top to bottom will speed up the time it takes to clean and help you avoid missing any areas.
Professional vs. DIY Window Cleaning
Most homeowners can clean windows themselves, but sometimes it’s better to hire a pro.
Professional Window Cleaning
For safety reasons, we recommend hiring a pro if you need window cleaning above the first level of your home. Professional window washers will have the knowledge and gear to do that safely. But you can also hire a professional to save you time or avoid the hassle.
Most of us aren’t experts on windows, and we don’t have time to become experts. A professional will be able to make a tailored plan for your entire home and save you time on both research and cleaning.
Here are some benefits of using professional window cleaning services:
- You won’t have to buy special equipment.
- You’ll save time.
- Pros have insurance to cover any potential damage to windows.
DIY Window Cleaning
Do-it-yourself (DIY) window cleaning can generally be done over a weekend. If you don’t have the time, tools, energy, or know-how, consider hiring a pro.
We recommend cleaning your windows at least twice per year, and more often if you suffer from allergies. Hiring a professional is better if you have hard-to-reach windows or are short on time.
Research local window cleaning companies and compare prices to pick the right pro for the job. If getting more familiar with your windows makes you realize that you need new ones, check out low-cost window replacement options and research the cost of new windows to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
Window Cleaning Frequency FAQ
How often should I clean windows in areas with high pollution or smog?
You should generally clean windows once per month. If you notice buildup between cleanings, consider cleaning them more often.
Can dirty windows affect the energy efficiency of my home?
Yes. Dirt prevents light from passing through your windows. This means your heating system must work harder to heat your home.
What happens if you don’t clean your home’s windows?
Dirty windows can reduce the natural lighting in your home and affect your indoor air quality. Over time, dirt particles weaken the structural integrity of the glass and cause discoloration.
What is the best month to wash windows?
There is no best month to wash windows, but most experts recommend washing your windows during the spring or fall.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when cleaning windows?
A common mistake is washing windows on a sunny day, as the heat can leave streaks. Another common mistake is forgetting to dust before you spray the windows with solution.